Cheney Brothers Inc. opens food distribution expansion in Statesville Business Park
BY KARISSA MILLER
Elected officials joined business and community partners — some in suits and ties and others in T-shirts and jeans — underneath two large tents at the Statesville Business Park on Tuesday to help Cheney Brothers Inc. celebrate the opening of the company’s 160,000-square-foot expansion.
Those who stayed for dinner enjoyed slow-cooked barbecue ribs, chicken and waffles, and grilled chicken and comfort food cooked by Cheney Brothers’ culinary chefs.
CEO and Chairman Bryon Russell walked through a crowd of people, greeting new acquaintances and old friends.
“Everybody’s very proud of all their hard work. It’s sort of a dream come true for us to have grown outside of Florida and have our first new large distribution facility. The employees are very excited,” Russell said.
Founded in 1925, Cheney Brothers is family-owned food service distributor based in Riviera Beach, Fla., with annual sales of approximately $1.9 billion..
In 2016, the company purchased Pate Dawson (Southern Foods) and obtained property in Statesville, Goldsboro and Greensboro.
However, the 98,000-square-foot facility in Statesville did not allow Cheney Brothers to operate in a full-service manner.
So, in 2017, Cheney Brothers proposed investing $24 million in the Statesville facility by adding 160,000 square feet and hiring an additional 100 employees.
In return, the company received $465,000 in tax incentives spread over a five-year period.
The City of Statesville also agreed to give the company almost 10 acres of land adjacent to the facility. In 2018, Cheney Brothers broke ground on the expansion, which was designed and built by Charlotte-based firm AM King.
Iredell County Board of Commissioners Chairman James Mallory explained that commissioners have worked hard to create more jobs for families in Iredell County. The Cheney Brothers’ expansion will create around 100 jobs that pay above the minimum wage with the potential to create more jobs in the future.
“The community has been very supportive of us, which is everything when you’re trying to put a project like this together,” Russell said.
“We are really humbled to be a part of your community and we look forward to many good things. It’s really important to me that not only our employees work hard, but they give back to our community,” he added.
Commissioner Jeff McNeely said Cheney Brothers is a good fit for Iredell County and hopefully will be a good model for other companies.
Inside the distribution center, Mark Bishop, distribution sales manager, showed visitors the state-of-the-art test kitchen, the office area, overflow space, robotic truck wash pit and temperature-controlled warehouse.
Guests sipped on wine, beer or soft drinks that were available as they enjoyed a guided tour.
“We monitor the trucks that come to us via GPS … if it comes in the house, it has to be the right temperature before it gets into our cooler. Everything is temperature controlled here too. We guarantee the perfect temperature of every item,” Bishop said.
Cheney Brothers carries frozen, refrigerated and dry food products. The company also has a small cash and carry grocery market for the public.
Cheney Brothers has about 3,250 employees. The Statesville location has 200 to 250 employees.
“As we hopefully continue to grow, we have a lot of room here for expansion,” Russell said. “With that, comes room for more employees.”
The company has also partnered with almost 700 different community events. Cheney Brothers will sponsor The Longest Table Event 2019 on May 21 in Statesville.
Cheney Brothers is already planning an upfit and expansion with AM King at the Greensboro location. They also hope to also modernize the Goldsboro location in the future.